Less than a month to go before Google breaks hundreds of thousands of links all over the Internet

Google purchased Picasa, a super efficient photo editor that offered seamless integration with online publishing (e.g., you add a photo to an album on your desktop computer and it automatically gets pushed to the online version of the album). When they were pushing their Facebook competitor, Google+, they set it up so that Picasa created Google+ albums.

They wasted a huge amount of humanity’s time and effort by shutting down Picasa (previous post on the subject).

Now they’re going to waste millions of additional hours worldwide by breaking links to all of the Google+ albums that they had Picasa create. People will either have to edit a ton of links and/or, having arrived at a broken link, will have to start searching to see if they can find the content elsewhere.

Example: my review of an Antarctica cruise on the Ocean Diamond. It was so easy to publish the photos via Picasa that I just linked to the photo album from the HTML page. Now I will have to move the photos somewhere else, edit the HTML file, git push, git pull, etc. Then repeat for every other blog posting and web page that links to a Picasa-created album.

Maybe this is why Google has a corporate mission of making the world’s information accessible? They’re the primary force now in making information inaccessible?


15 thoughts on “Less than a month to go before Google breaks hundreds of thousands of links all over the Internet

  1. NUG … never use Google; especially to store things intentionally.

    If they crawl your page & your images you might be able to reliably point to assets that way. But their fool’s gold is the notion that their services will be around for decades, or at least a few years.

    I’m surprised there hasn’t been more backlash over this, almost as much as I’m surprised that there hasn’t been a Gmail exodus. Privacy & sustainability of free services just shouldn’t be expected — any more.

  2. Google is really perversely incentivised to, if not contribute to, at least do nothing about bad information organisation (because this makes their core product, search, more valuable).

    • What makes most of the services you list any better than Google. If you are using a “cloud” service, you should expect the service to change on the leadership’s whim, and that your use is going to be monetized, and your data is target of attacks or breeches…
      Some things you mention, like PeerTube and NextCloud, are great alternatives because they can be self-hosted and there is no central organization that can change your instance..

  3. Thankyou! Me and my friends on g+ have been scrambling trying to find a home that everyone will like. You’ve given me a couple new ideas!

  4. Haters gonna hate I guess, but the truth is slightly more subtle.

    A weird quirk of google culture is that people love to deprecate stuff. That’s the word. Deprecate. People use the word constantly. This term is not unfamiliar in engineering culture in general but in google you hear it about 10x more than other places. Because something is always getting deprecated. And when people deprecate something big, they talk about it in their resumes, perf packets, etc.

    Part of the problem is that people hate supporting old stuff, especially if they cannot get a promotion out of it. For the most part you get promotions by building something new that impresses people. So that is what people do. And so, old stuff has to be deprecated. And so you get this kind of thing.

    For the record I was a happy user of the former Picassa product but TBH I think the current Photos product is vastly superior for my needs, i.e. a non-photographer who uploads < 1GB of unremarkable cell phone pictures per week and who has no desire whatsoever to install or deal with desktop software. And yes I pay the company back $1.99/month for expanded storage.

  5. Google’s mission is NOT to “[make] the world’s information accessible.”

    It is to be the gatekeeper (toll-collector) for the world’s information. The difference seems subtle until one reads this post.

  6. Should take this as a general warning about “cloud” providers in general, not just google. Make sure you have copies of all your data in your own control!

  7. The promise of the Internet was democratization of publishing ability… doesn’t seem that that’s working out so well with many people still flocking to centralized solutions for everything (Google, Twitter, FB, Cloud storage providers, etc. etc. etc). And then, when these “free” services (that grant you neither freedom, no do they provide you access at no cost – the cost is they lock up your data or steal your personal information for resale.)

    If you’re still looking for a new home – you might consider Hubzilla (https://hubzilla.org). The latest release builds on “nomadic identity” (the idea that you can take your identity and all your data and not only migrate it to another server, but you can actually store your data on 2 or more servers SIMULTANEOUSLY – so – if one server admin is doing maintenance, just hop on your other server and continue working!). In Hubzilla 4.0 (and also the newer ZAP application geared more specifically to “social media”) there is now also “nomadic content”. Web pages, and even social media links on Hubzilla and ZAP will automatically detect where your data is and send your people there.

    It is “simple” software? No, it takes a bit of “getting used to” – but we all needed to “get used to” all the other services we use.

    Hubzilla can be SELF HOSTED (never lose access to your data or your service again!) since it is built to run on a standard PHP enabled web service (PHP 7.1+ required) and what it lacks in “pretty” is more than made up for in feature fullness. Hubzilla can act as a WebDAV file store, CalDAV calendar, Blog, web page server, image repository, social media server, and much much more. Including the ability to grant or deny anyone else connected to the Zot Network (called “the GRID”) access to your files with very fine grained permissions – even if they do not have an account on YOUR server! All they need is a Hubzilla (or ZAP) account on a server connected to the rest of “the GRID”. Then they can connect with you and you can share data with each other.

  8. I am disappointed by the closing of G+, but the situation is not as bad as described, the author forgot the step when Google Photos was decoupled from Google+ and now the former Picasaweb albums live as Google Photos albums and will not be deleted. What is deleted are Google+ albums created *after* the decoupling of Photos, and those could not be linked externally.

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